Everything Else

In a land in our time there lived a man, who read a book and found lots of wonderful stories therein. There were true and invented stories, experienced and pensive, enjoyable and painful stories. There were stories which contained stories, and such which were actually not stories. For every story he read, there occurred to him nearly five which he had either experienced or thought up himself. So the thought came to him, that a lot in the world was a story which could be healing for himself and others; he only needed to absorb the healing stories well and to forget the terrible ones immediately. Then he would learn which story he had used when and for what. So he organised his own stories which he knew, and which had become a help to himself and others, or could become so. Sometimes he noted it down when a new story came to his ears and sometimes when a helpful story occurred to him, he memorised it.

Then he saw before him in a picture the storystories of this life arranged in long shelves, as in a large pharmacy. And behind the counter there sat a man who had learnt to listen to himself and others. He was a master of his subjectspecialty. His talent was that he understood how to tell the right thing at the right time to himself and to those who visited him.


We talked about music. “The ear is merciful”, she said. “It hears what is meant, and not what is actually played.” The woman who said this was a piano teacher. She had taught pupils for decades and had thought about how ear and brain process the music. “The ear is merciful”, I repeated. “How do you mean that?” She said: “When we hear music as an audience, then we blot out the mistakes. We hear what is meant. What arrives in our consciousness is the complete melody. The artists and teachers pay attention to the mistakes, but the audience hears the music.”

Volume Control

She loved going to the disco. When her parents picked her up, they wondered each time: “How can you bear it with that noise?” But she knew: the music is only loud at the beginning. Soon the music is no longer loud. The ear adjusts the volume accordingly. In bed in the evenings she loved to listen to the radio, turned down low. Okay, her parents had forbidden it when she had school the next day, but she turned the volume down so low that even she hardly heard anything. She knew: the music is only low at the beginning. Soon, quiet is no longer quiet. She can turn the radio down many more times, and she still hears everything. The ear adjusts the volume accordingly.